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September 23, 2005.

JOHN REILLY, Plaintiff,

The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARILYN PATEL, District Judge


On July 13, 2005, defendant State Farm Mutual Automotive Insurance Co. ("State Farm") filed a notice of removal from Sonoma County Superior Court in this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. sections 1446(b), 1441(b), and 1332. On August 2, 2005, plaintiff John Reilly filed a motion for remand to superior court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1447(c) and for attorneys' fees associated with defendant's attempt to remove. Plaintiff argues lack of diversity jurisdiction, specifically that the amount in controversy in this action falls below the $75,000 minimum jurisdictional amount. Having considered the parties' arguments and submissions, the court enters the following memorandum and order.


  Plaintiff filed the present complaint in the Sonoma County Superior Court, alleging that defendant wrongfully withheld payment on a disability insurance policy issued to plaintiff. Notice of Removal, Ex. A. Plaintiff claims that his back was injured in a motor vehicle accident in July 2001 and that defendant has improperly denied benefits based on a policy exclusion pertaining to a previous, unrelated back condition. Id. Plaintiff seeks to recover damages under two separate legal theories: breach of contract for violating the terms of the policy, and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, a state law tort encompassing breaches of insurance contracts that are "unreasonable and without proper foundation." Id.; see Crisci v. Security Ins. Co., 66 Cal. 2d 425 (1967). For both causes of action, plaintiff alleges damages "exceed[ing] $25,000." Notice of Removal, Ex. A.

  In the prayer for relief at the conclusion of the complaint, plaintiff requests compensatory damages and prejudgment interest. Id. Plaintiff also requests attorneys' fees, although the legal basis for doing so is somewhat uncertain. See generally Cal. Civ. Pro. Code § 1021 (codifying the "American Rule," that parties bear their own attorneys' fees unless otherwise provided by statute or agreement); contra Brandt v. Superior Court, 37 Cal. 3d 813, 817 (1985) (holding that "[w]hen an insurer's tortious conduct reasonably compels the insured to retain an attorney to obtain the benefits due under a policy, it follows that the insurer should be held liable in a tort action for that expense."); but see Pacific Group v. First State Ins. Co., 841 F. Supp. 922, 945-46 (N.D. Cal. 1993) (Jensen, J.), rev'd on other grounds, 70 F.3d 524 (9th Cir. 1995) (construing Brandt narrowly out of respect for the American Rule).

  On July 13, 2005, defendant removed the action to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. section 1332. Id. On August 2, 2005, plaintiff filed a motion to remand, arguing that defendant has failed to demonstrate that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. Mot. to Remand at 2.


  An action is removable to a federal court only if it could have been brought there originally. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). A district court has diversity jurisdiction over any civil action between citizens of different states so long as the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. If at any time before final judgment, the court determines that it is without subject matter jurisdiction, the action shall be remanded to state court. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).

  The removal statute is strictly construed against removal, and the court must reject federal jurisdiction if there is any doubt as to whether removal was proper. Duncan v. Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th Cir. 1996); Boggs v. Lewis, 863 F.2d 662, 663 (9th Cir. 1988). The defendant bears the burden of proving the propriety of removal. Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). Where the amount of damages sought by a plaintiff is unclear, defendant must prove facts supporting the jurisdictional amount by a preponderance of the evidence. Sanchez v. Monumental Life Ins. Co., 102 F.3d 398, 403 (9th Cir. 1996); Gaus, 980 F.2d at 567 (citing McNutt v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936)); 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Thus, defendant must demonstrate that it is "more likely than not" that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. Sanchez, 102 F.3d at 404.

  The district court determines whether defendant has met this burden by first considering whether it is "facially apparent" from the complaint that the jurisdictional amount has been satisfied. See Singer v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 116 F.3d 373, 377 (9th Cir. 1997). If the complaint does not clearly specify damages, the court may examine facts in the complaint and evidence submitted by the parties. The court may also require the parties to submit "summary-judgment-type evidence" relevant to the amount in controversy. Allen v. R & H Oil & Gas Co., 63 F.3d 1326, 1336 (5th Cir. 1995); Matheson v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003). The jurisdictional minimum may be satisfied by claims for special and general damages, attorneys' fees and punitive damages. See Conrad Assoc. v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co., 994 F. Supp. 1196, 1198 (N.D. Cal. 1998) (Infante, M.J.). DISCUSSION

  The parties do not dispute diversity of citizenship. Nor does the complaint, on its face, state a claim for damages exceeding $75,000. Plaintiff alleges for both causes of action only that the damages exceed $25,000, the minimum required by California courts of general jurisdiction. Accordingly, this motion turns on whether defendant has proved, by presentation of sufficient evidence or by argument based on the facts alleged in the complaint, that the requisite amount in controversy exists.

  I. The Effect of Plaintiff's Two Causes of Action

  The parties disagree about whether the amount of money sought in plaintiff's two causes of action may be added together for purposes of establishing jurisdiction. Defendant characterizes plaintiff's second cause of action, which sounds in tort, as seeking "extra-contractual damages" above and beyond those damages alleged in the first cause of action, but provides no explanation or authority in support of the characterization. Mot. to Remand at 4-5. Plaintiff, with a similar lack of cited authority, argues that the two causes of action are "concurrent." Brief in Opposition at 1. Although the court is unaware of any authority addressing the precise question which the parties have framed, three general points about the relationship between the contract and tort claims are clear.

  First, the only amount an insured may recover on a claim for breach of a disability insurance contract is "the sum or sums payable in the manner and at the times as ...

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